In August 1895 Dr. Arthur Wentworth performed the first lumbar puncture ever done at the Children's Hospital in Boston. The patient was a 2-year-old girl with a doubtful case of tuberculous meningitis. The experience proved a harrowing one for Wentworth, as is evident from his description of it.

We punctured the spinal canal, using for the purpose the needle from an antitoxin syringe, and withdrew six cubic centimetres of a clear fluid which looked like distilled water. No tubercle bacilli were found....

Immediately after tapping the canal the child became restless, throwing herself about the bed, clutching at her hair and giving vent to short cries. The pulse rose to over 250 in the minute, the respiration was superficial, and the skin was cool and slightly livid. Subcutaneous injections of brandy and ether were given, heaters applied, and the foot of the bed raised. This condition persisted about the same for three-quarters of an hour, and then the child became quieter.1

During the attack I felt considerable uneasiness because I was unprepared for such a result and did not know but that it would terminate fatally. I now believe that the symptoms were due to headache, caused by the removal of fluid, and that her life was not endangered.2

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